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APPL8020 – Research Methods in Language Study

2020 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Professor
Mehdi Riazi
Contact via email
Margaret Wood
Program Director
Peter Roger
Contact via email
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MAccComm or MAppLing or MAppLingTESOL or MTransInter or MConfInt or MAdvTransInterStud or MTransInterMAppLingTESOL
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
APPL8020 Online APPL7020
Unit description Unit description

This unit focuses on general principles of research and the use of research methods in language studies. It covers the whole process of research from choosing a topic, searching the related literature on the topic, and formulating research questions, to collecting and analysing data and writing up research reports. The exploration of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research methodologies develops students' research literacy to understand research reports and to design research projects. Research ethics and conducting and writing up a small-scale research project are two other components of this unit.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Identify & communicate a research topic to a professional audience
  • ULO2: Critically review and synthesise published literature related to the topic of your proposed research & communicate with a professional audience
  • ULO3: Explain the basic underlying principles of three research approaches (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods)
  • ULO4: Conceive and formulate research questions/hypotheses relating to language study and language learning
  • ULO5: Creatively design, implement, and report a small-scale study to answer your research questions

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

Assessment Task 1: Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources and annotations (summary and evaluation) on a selected topic arranged in alphabetical order. Each annotation should have three parts. The first part is the bibliographic information of the source which should strictly follow APA style. The second part of each annotation includes a concise summary of the content and methodology of the study (what problem was investigated using which methods and with what results?). The third part of the annotation should include your reflection (critical evaluation of the study) and its relevance to the theme of the AB (your chosen topic or area of interest). Roughly, the summary and the evaluation of each stud should have a 70% to 30% proportion.

Assessment Task 2: Review Paper

Assignment 2 is a “literature review” task and requires you to transform your annotated bibliography (Assignment 1) into a coherent literature review. You can refer to the “Writing a literature review” section in Chapter 3 of the interactive text to learn about how to prepare and write your literature review. If you have prepared your AB well, you already have the content for your literature review though you can update your AB and add any other resources you might find useful. You need to transform your AB into a coherent and focused review with an appropriate structure. This assignment is a mediatory assignment that links your first assignment to the third assignment. As such, the literature review should provide a context and background for the primary research you’ll be doing for the third assignment.

Like your first assignment, this assignment will also follow the “Introduction”, “Body”, and “Conclusion” structure.

Assessment Task 3: Research Report

Assignment 3 is a research report of a small-scale study you’ll complete. Follow the structure of Introduction (including selective Literature Review), Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusion (IMRDC) (See Chapter 3 of your Interactive Text). Since you have already submitted a literature review (Assignment 2), only a selective part of it (significant sources and arguments) should be included in the Introduction.

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

The learning and teaching strategies used in this Unit include individual study, in-class face to face lectures and in-class and online discussion Forums. Face-to-face weekly lectures include a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial.

The unit convenor will be monitoring the online discussion. If you have any general questions, concerns, and comments these may be posted on the Forum in iLearn. However, should you have any personal issues (e.g. requests for extensions etc.) then these should be addressed directly to the unit convenor at mehdi.riazi@mq.edu.au

The online discussion provides students (especially external students) the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with other classmates to consolidate their understanding of theoretical concepts. Both internal and external students are urged to take part in online discussions as relating to weekly topics.

For required and optional texts and/or materials please refer to Unit Guide in iLearn. 

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status




Required reading(s)

Recommended readings

Tasks & Assignments



Introduction to Research Methods:

Overview of the unit and assignments


Primary vs. Secondary research

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018) Chapter 1







Read about the first assignment (Annotated Bibliography) in Chapter 1


Identify your area of interest (topic)






Conducting Secondary Research:


Knowing about and searching databases



Mehdi Riazi


Riazi (2018)

Chapter 2



Read Chapter 2 carefully and complete the learning activities


Prepare a list of articles for your AB (First Assignment)




Writing Academically:


Writing up research

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 3


Presentation of research topics


Internal students (ISs) present in class

External students (ESs) present in online “Forum”


Read Chapter 3 carefully and prepare Assignment 1




Conducting Primary Research:

Overview of three research paradigms: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research


Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 4

Cumming (1994)



Assignment 1 is due on Sunday March 29th at 23:55 Sydney time


Read Chapter 4 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 4



Conducting Quantitative Research:

Surveys and correlational studies

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 5

Surveys (Wagner, 2013)-Accessible from MQ Online Library






Read Chapter 5 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 5




Conducting Quantitative Research:

Experimental designs

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 6



Read Chapter 6 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 6




Collecting and Analysing Quantitative Data

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 7


Brown, J.D. (1991)

Read Chapter 7 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 7


Mid-term Break (April 13-26) Assignment 2 is due on Sunday April 26th at 23:55 Sydney Time




Conducting Qualitative Research:

Case study and ethnography

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 8


Case study (Duff, 2013)- Accessible from MQ Online Library


Richards (2009)

Read Chapter 8 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 8



Conducting Qualitative Research:

Discourse analysis and narrative inquiry

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 9


Narrative Approaches to Second

Language Acquisition

(Pomerantz, 2013)- Accessible from MQ Online Library


Read Chapter 9 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 9



Analysing Qualitative Data

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 10


Maguire & Delahunt (2017)

Read Chapter 10 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 10



Mixed-methods research-Part 1

Mehdi Riazi

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 11


Riazi (2017)


Riazi & Candlin (2014)


Teddlie & Tashakkori (2006)

Read Chapter 11 carefully and complete “Learning Activity” of Chapter 11




Elaboration on Assignment 3

Mehdi Riazi








Ethical issues in research*

Peter Roger

Riazi (2018)

Chapter 13


Thomas (2009)


Rieschild (2003)





Assignment 3 due on Sunday, June 14th at 23:55 Sydney Time





Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Late Assignment Submission

Late Assignment Submission

  • Late submissions without an extension will receive a penalty of 5% of the total mark available for the assignment per day
  • Late submission of an assignment without an extension will not be permitted after marks have been released to the rest of the class.
  • Extensions will only be given in special circumstances and can be requested by completing the Special Consideration request at ask.mq.edu.au and providing the required supporting documentation.
  • For more information on Special Consideration, see the university website https://students.mq.edu.au/study/my-study-program/special-consideration
  • Assignments submitted after the deadline, regardless of the reason, will be marked and returned at a date determined by the unit convenor.
  • Extensions cannot continue beyond the start of the following semester, and students should be aware that long extensions may impact graduation dates.